Following the Coasters’ all-important three points against Southend United last time out, Adam Murray’s men are back in action at Mill Farm. 

Standing in their way are Boreham Wood, who themselves have had a mixed start to the season and sit on the same points total ahead of the meeting. 

Get to know our visitors with our Match Preview, as we focus on the Wood below.

The Lowdown

The Coasters come into this Tuesday night fixture after an impressive second win of the season away to Southend. Taelor O’Kane grabbed his second goal for the club with an impressive header into the top corner, which got things started in Essex. 

Jon Ustabasi got the winner for the Coasters with an impressive finish that sent the Coasters faithful home with three points for only the second time this season. 

Boreham Wood arrive at Mill Farm off the back of a defeat at home to Aldershot Town. Angelo Balanta found himself on the scoresheet, but that was not enough in a 2-1 defeat. 

The Wood come into this game with no win in two and struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. Luke Garrard’s men will be looking for an improvement on recent weeks, whilst the Coasters will be looking to carry on from Saturday’s impressive performance away at Southend.

The Manager: Luke Garrard

One of the more well-known managers in Non-League, Garrard plays a style of football that can only be admired. Flair, skill and pace make Boreham Wood a pleasant watch, and people can only wonder how Garrard has not moved up the managerial ladder. 

A local lad born in Barnet, Garrard started his playing days at Tottenham Hotspur. However, after failing to make an appearance, he soon moved on and found himself at Swindon Town. Once again, appearances were limited, and he soon moved back to the London area but found himself moving down the leagues. 

Spells at Bishop Stortford, Northwood and Boreham Wood all lasted no longer than a season before Garrard found his feet at AFC Wimbledon. From 2006 to 2009, Garrard made just shy of 100 appearances for the Wombles, which saw them rise through the lower leagues of the Non-League pyramid from the Isthmian League to the Conference South. 

However, at the end of the 2009 season, Garrard moved back to at the time Isthmian Premier side Boreham Wood. In his first season as a player, he contributed to the side’s promotion to the Conference South.

At 30, Garrard hung up his boots and became the main man in the technical area at Meadow Park. In his first season, he kept the Wood up by two points after battling against the likes of Lincoln, Tranmere and Cheltenham. 

The 2017-18 season is where Luke Garrard worked his magic and took Boreham Wood to the playoff final for the first time in their history. It wasn’t meant to be, as they lost out to Tranmere in the Final, but they did defeat the Coasters in the quarter-finals of the playoffs. 

In the Covid hit season of 2019-20, the Wood got to the playoff semi-finals, losing out to eventual winners Harrogate Town, and it seemed like Boreham Wood were never going to get out of the division. 

The following season, they made another bit of history by reaching the third round of the FA Cup – however, their league performance suffered due to this. The 2021-22 season saw another record, the Wood made the 5th round of the FA Cup, only to be narrowly defeated by Everton. 

Last season, Garrard suffered more playoff heartbreak, losing out to Notts County in the Semi-Finals. 

Key Players

Nathan Ashmore – The shot-stopper, who will be well-known to any non-league enthusiast. With good distribution, as well as the ability to save anything in the air, Ashmore is unlucky not to get a look in at Football League level. 

Femi Ilesamni – With an unbelievable work rate and desire to win football matches, Femi is a key part of Boreham Wood’s side. A very experienced defender who is confident on the ball, Femi will have an interesting battle with whoever he faces on the right side. 

Tyrone Marsh – Another player with vast experience, Marsh can play anywhere across the front line, which certainly helps at this level. Good on the ball and capable of doing the dirty side of the game, Marsh provides the experience to guide the other forwards and score goals.

Previous Meetings:

5th August 2017 – AFC Fylde 2-2 Boreham Wood – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Danny Woodwards (OG) & Jonny Smith

Boreham Wood – Kane Smith & Ricky Shakes.

9th December 2017 – Boreham Wood 1-0 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: Boreham Wood – Angelo Balanta

3rd May 2018 – Boreham Wood 2-1 AFC Fylde – National League Play-Offs

Goalscorers: Boreham Wood – Jamie Turley & Bruno Andrade

Fylde – Simon Grand

24th November 2018 – AFC Fylde 2-1 Boreham Wood – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Serhat Tasdemir & Danny Rowe

The Wood – Chigozie Ugwu

9th March 2019 – Boreham Wood 1-1 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: Boreham Wood – Jamal Fyfield

Fylde – Neil Byrne

26th October 2019 – Boreham Wood 0-2 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Andy Taylor & Dan Bradley

1st February 2020 – AFC Fylde 1-2 Boreham Wood – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Jordan Williams

Boreham Wood – Jamal Fyfield & Kabongo Tshimanga.

Opposition form

The Wood come into this game with the same number of wins as the Coasters, but they do have three more draws, meaning they are currently above the drop zone. 

Not scoring many goals but also not conceding many shows that Boreham Wood are tough to break down, and apart from a 4-0 defeat to Oxford City, they would have one of the best defences in the league. 

However, Luke Garrard will be looking for the Wood to improve from their below-par start to the league, and the playoffs will be one of his targets.

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.